Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Junior High

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Junior High Session

Isaiah 25:6-10

Matthew 22:1-14

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.

O God, we praise you with joyful hearts.

We thank you for your everlasting love.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


Opening Life Reflection

The theme for today is to keep holy the Lord’s day. To begin, divide the large group into small groups of three or four. Provide paper and pencils and invite each group to imagine that they are planning a prayer celebration for teens. Have them share within their group ideas for a good prayer celebration. Invite each group to list three elements that are needed for a good prayer celebration. Invite one person from each group to share their group’s responses with the large group. Discuss:

• What are some important elements for a good prayer celebration?
• What do you find most uplifting about your faith?
• How do you celebrate your faith in God?

Allow time for discussion. On Sunday believers give thanks and praise to the Lord God. We come together at Mass to celebrate all that God has done for us.

Listening to the Word of God
In the Old Testament reading today, listen to the prophet Isaiah rejoice in the blessings of the Lord.

Read Isaiah 25:6-10.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• Why does Isaiah rejoice in the Lord?
• What kind of feast will God provide for all people?
• How are the people blessed?

In the gospel today, listen to Jesus compare the kingdom of God to a wedding banquet.

Read Matthew 22:1-14.
Allow for silence.

• How does Jesus compare the kingdom of God to a wedding banquet?
• How does the king react when the people who were invited to the banquet do not come?
• Who does come to the banquet?

Scripture Background

Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

In the Old Testament reading today, Isaiah rejoices in the goodness of the Lord. The image of a great banquet is used to show the blessings that God’s people will experience on the last day. For the Jewish people, the setting on the mountain is symbolic of a place to encounter the divine. God promises to wipe away any tears and destroy death. The banquet celebration in today’s passage shows God’s everlasting love for the people.

In today’s gospel, Jesus uses the image of a wedding banquet to teach about the kingdom of God. Servants are sent by the king to invite guests to a banquet. Some refuse to come, some are too busy, and some even kill the servants. The king gets angry at the refusal of the invited guests. He wants people to attend his banquet so he tells his servants to go out and invite everyone they can find. In today’s parable the sending of the servants is like the preaching of the prophets. The preaching first is directed to Israel and with their refusal, finally it is directed to the Gentiles. The message to those who sit at the banquet table is to act accordingly, and to live as followers of Jesus.

Questions for Deeper Reflection

• Why is the image of a banquet used in today’s readings?

• How do these readings relate to celebrating Mass?

• How do you respond to God’s invitation to celebrate the Eucharist?

[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
Keep Holy the Lord’s Day
Sunday is the day we call the Lord’s Day. On Sunday Christ rose from the dead. On this day believers rejoice because everything changed for the better. The Church celebrates the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus every Sunday, the Lord’s Day. On this day all Christ’s faithful are called to come together to listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist. We gather to give thanks and praise to God.

The third commandment instructs us to observe and keep holy the Sabbath. This commandment refers to the Jewish Sabbath. Six days were set aside for work, but the seventh day was for rest, just as God rested after having created the world. But for us Christians, Sunday is associated with Christ because of his resurrection on the first day of the week.

From the beginning of the Church, the community of believers gathered on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. The Catholic Church understands that it is necessary for us to come together on the Lord’s day to thank God for making us one in Jesus. Each Sunday we celebrate our passover in Christ from death and sin to new life and grace. On Sunday we praise God and rejoice in Jesus who fills our lives with love.

• How do Catholics celebrate the Lord’s Day?
• How does receiving Jesus in the Eucharist unite us as one family?
• How does celebrating Mass help us to live as followers of Jesus?

Sacrament Connection
When we celebrate Mass we believe that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Sharing in the Eucharist helps us to live as one family. We are joined together with Jesus and one another.

The Gospel in Life
What is one thing that you can do to participate more in Mass?

Posted in: Sessions A